Heat
Hawks
111 - 114 Final - OT
  for this game

Hawks down struggling Heat, go over .500 mark

Dec 20, 2007 - 4:50 AM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- It may have taken an extra session, but the Atlanta Hawks are over .500 again.

Marvin Williams and Joe Johnson combined for 10 points in the extra session and Anthony Johnson hit a key jumper to lead the Hawks to a 117-111 overtime win over the struggling Miami Heat on Wednesday.

With the win, Atlanta modestly moved over the .500 mark for the first time since their Opening Night victory against the Phoenix Suns.

It is the latest in the season that the playoff-challenged Hawks have been over the .500 mark since the 1998-1999 club finished its lockout-shortened campaign at 31-19.

That club was the last one to make the postseason.

"We've got to keep improving from this point on," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "We talked about playing .500 basketball, and anything above it would be icing on the cake. We have to keep climbing."

Things did not look good for the Hawks, who squandered an eight-point fourth quarter lead and trailed by three in the overtime.

Miami superstar Dwayne Wade was hot, scoring nine in the fourth quarter to bring his team back in the game and hitting his first two shots in the extra session.

But keyed by their leader, Joe Johnson, Atlanta cooled off Wade and rattled off the next nine points to seal the victory.

"Once I got a chance, I wanted to be aggressive and make plays," Joe Johnson said. "I said that in the overtime, if I ever got a crease, I was going to take it."

Johnson connected on 1-of-2 free throws to cut the deficit to two before converting on a three-point play to give Atlanta a 112-111 lead with 1:11 remaining.

After another Miami miss, rookie Al Horford connected on both free throws to pad the lead before Anthony Johnson followed with a runner in the lane over Miami point guard Chris Quinn to give Atlanta a 116-111 lead with 13.6 remaining.

"All night, I was able to get into the paint," Anthony Johnson said. "With the game on the line, their guys were going to stay at home. It was 1-on-1 (with Quinn), and I drained it."

Joe Johnson sealed the win with a free throw in the game's final seconds.

"Words can't describe (how good both Johnsons were in the overtime)," Williams said. "Those guys took us home. If Joe wasn't making shots, Anthony was making them."

But the Hawks almost gave this one away.

Atlanta held a 97-91 lead on Williams' dunk with 5:44 remaining in the fourth before Wade and the Heat worked their magic.

A three-time All-Star, Wade keyed a Heat 9-3 run to get the club back in the game, scoring four points and capping the run with an 11-footer to tie the contest at 100-100 with 2:38 remaining.

Anthony Johnson followed with a jumper before Wade answered with two free throws to tie the game at 102-102.

After an Atlanta miss, Wade dished to Udonis Haslem in the post for a thunderous dunk to give Miami a 104-102 lead with 1:09 remaining before Joe Johnson answered with a jumper to knot the contest up once again.

Miami had a chance to win it in regulation when Wade found a wide-open Ricky Davis in the left corner. But Davis' 3-point attempt rattled off the rim to send the game to overtime.

The Heat wasted a fantastic performance from Wade, who finished with a season-high 36 points.

"We had a lot of misses at the end of the game, and we couldn't get any stops when it mattered most," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "We just couldn't absorb both to get the win."

Joe Johnson and Williams scored 26 apiece and Anthony Johnson added 21 for Atlanta, which has won six of its last eight games.

"We somehow, some way, have been finding a way (to win)," Joe Johnson said of Atlanta's recent streak. "They haven't been pretty, but we've been pulling things out. That's what good teams do."

But when pressed, Joe Johnson would not quite anoint his club - the youngest in the NBA at an average age of 25 years, 193 days - as a "good team" just yet.

"I think we're a pretty good team," he said. "I don't want to toot the horn too loudly. We have some room for improvement."

However, the results on the court are showing the transformation and maturation of the once low-flying Hawks, who have been one of the worst teams in the NBA over the last eight seasons.

Not only did the Heat suffer a disappointing loss on the court, but they may have also lost one of their leaders. Reserve center Alonzo Mourning left the game with 4:22 remaining in the second period after tearing the patellar tendon of his right knee.

The 15-year veteran's right knee buckled while defending Mario West's fast-break layup. He pounded his fist to the court in frustration and was initially put in a stretcher before leaving the court under his own power with the assistance of two teammates.

"The doctors have taken X-rays, and from the looks of it, it looks like my patellar (tendon) is torn," Mourning said. "We'll know more about the injury (Thursday), but it will definitely require surgery."

Mourning, who has stated that this is going to be his final season in the NBA, scored five points and grabbed one rebound prior to the possible career-ending injury.

"It's disappointing to think that my career may end this way, but there are just so many things that are more important in life, and I have my whole life to do other things," Mourning said. "I've been truly blessed to play as long as I have. I thank everyone involved for this wonderful opportunity."








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